Archive | March, 2012

F is for Four Libations before Ritual

20 Mar

I offer cool water to my Akhu.

Our ancestors – known and unknown, family in blood and in spirit. They came first. They came before us, they paid with their lives to make us who we are. And so we honor them first.

I offer cool water to Wepwawet.

The Opener of Ways, the lord of the crossroads, the first scout. He stands on the king’s banners, leading the army on. We invoke Him second, and ask for His aid to facilitate communication with those in the Unseen World.

I offer cool water to my Sebau.

Our teachers – and not just the ones from school. Those living people who have taught us major life lessons, who helped shape us into better people are our Sebau (meaning “those who give instruction”). They are, perhaps, leaders in our spiritual lives as well – priests, god spouses, and lay people who help us understand the mysteries of our gods. We must remember what we’ve learned from them as we live our lives – and that includes our ritual work.

I offer cool water to Ma’at.

The goddess embodying the nature of the universe – of balance, of justice, of truth. Ma’at comes last, because She is first. We seek to live up to Her ideals, we seek to bring ma’at into the world with our actions. She is grounding, a centering moment as we leave the prescribed words of our rites behind to our person practice and prayer.

 

I’ve previously discussed that I want to begin an esbat practice, a phrase which here means a weekly practice honoring the phases of the moon. This is separate from my senut rite, and not unrelated from our Kemetic Orthodox duas at Pesdjentiu (the New Moon) and Tepy-Semdet (the Full Moon). And so the structure of ritual that we have as Kemetic Orthodox now begins to inform my fledgling constructions for lunar ritual.

Calling Quarters is traditionally a matter of the Four Directions or the Four Elements that comes before an esbat. I don’t have a strong connection to the elements, nor do I particularly associate them with the moon. I have no connection at all to the points of the compass (except in the context of sunrise and sunset), if anything, my directions are six: behind, ahead, above, beneath, side-to-side. For a long time, I have thought that things must be done in a certain way – and in some contexts, they should. Senut is senut because of the way the words are patterned, the Our Father is the Our Father for the same reason. Esbats are not a Kemetic Orthodox practice. What I do to mark the journey of the moon is irrelevant to my fellow Remetj and Shemsu. It is not relevant to the Unitarian-Universalist church I attend, and I am not a member of a coven that has a specific ritual for the lunar cycle.

This is Personal Religion: something that exists regardless of if you’re Catholic, Buddhist, Wiccan, or anything in between. It’s a chance to try new things, to create tradition, and honor the world as Oneself.

 

Examine your own faith-life, if you have one. Feel free to share what you do that separates you from others in your spiritual practice below.

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E is for “E-Religion”

19 Mar

I don’t really think of my faith as being an online faith, but I can see where the mistake can be made. We gather on a forum, we engage in ritual and prayer via IRC, we blog, we Facebook about our faith.

But Kemetic Orthodoxy is about so much more than dot coms and dot orgs and the fact that when I log into freenode’s IRC servers, it tells me that my server is named after Joanne Rowling.

My religion is about building relationships: with people, with spirits, with gods. We build those relationships with the means we have. I live in California, so clearly my relationship with Shemsu in Florida and Ohio is not likely to be based on luncheons after Duas. They’re based on getting to know each other textually, commenting on Facebook statuses, and hanging out on Stickam. I would give all I own to be able to live in a Kemetic Orthodox neighborhood, and I like to think that in the coming years, there will be enough of us in one place to make that happen. As it is, people are unintentionally ending up closer and closer to each other, with conversions and job placements.

I wish I could know the number of pagans who are solitaries in this world by accident rather than choice, and I wish that I could reach out to local ones to start some eclectic group here in California (instead, I spend time at liberal Christian and Unitarian-Universalist congregations that will accept me as I am). It’s beautiful to be in the presence of those moved by the spirit of love (called it Jesus or Netjer, it’s all the same to me), but being in the presence of others who believe as we do is even more touching. This is why I find online paganism so beautiful – not just the House, but this Pagan Blog Project, and those Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and deviantArt pages run by those who love the Old Gods. I’m glad that we use the internet to connect to each other (at the risk of being labeled “internet religion”), if only for that one thing: companionship.

 

Is connecting with others important to your spiritual development? How do you connect?

Link

PBP: Five Pillars of Kemetic Orthodoxy

16 Mar

PBP: Five Pillars of Kemetic Orthodoxy

Lovely blog by Emky. Check it out!

E is for Esbats

12 Mar

I’ve mentioned before that while I am no longer Wiccan, I really like the structure of Wiccan ritual. I like the calling of the elements, the symbolism of the tools, the balance of feminine and masculine.

So I thought, if we Kemetic Orthodox celebrate the cycles of the moon too, why can’t I do esbats for a Kemetic goddess. Immediately, I turned to Bast and Sekhmet, and was frowned upon. Solar goddesses. So who? I ask the universe. The New Moon belongs to Ptah-Sokar. Okay. And the full moon? The full moon belongs to Ptah-Sokar. So great. Now I have esbats centered around a god. I’m sure all my Wiccan friends will be amused by THAT.

But what about my feminine to balance the masculine? Well, you’re a girl. I know, I know Dad. But that’s not what I meant. Well, the Horned God isn’t lunar. So I should ask Sekhmet to be involved here? -cue a big lioness purr-

So, now that my gods have gone and reversed the entire freaking framework of Wicca, my elements are also being quietly changed too… ;.;

But I’m happy. Because this is my personal practice, being adapted. This is a way to get to know a side of Father that I don’t know, Ptah in His Name of Sokar. It’s confusing, and I have no doubt some people will scream WRONG, but I’m happy. Even if I’m confused, I am happy to have my gods.

I know this is totally unimportant…

11 Mar

But it makes me smile that people can say “Dad” to me, and we share Him.

IV Peret 11, Y19.

11 Mar

Today, Dad and I wrote a folk song.

It’s really just a simple chant with a melody to match, hence me calling it a folk song. It went through several iterations before it felt right, and I want to add more to it as time goes by. I’m calling it “Ptah’s Gardening Song.” Here is the refrain:

Green, green, green upon green
Separate the chaff from the wheat,
Green, green, green upon green,
The earth is born again.

Thanks for hammering four (the number of perfection/completion) in my head, Dad.

I’m back in California. The season (from my observation) has already changed to spring here. Yesterday, I was mildly sunburned at a car wash, and today, my mother and I went into the yard to garden. The trees here are in bloom, and the shrubs are starting to come to life, though our flowers have not yet awoken. How strange that only four days ago, it was icy-winter weather for me!

Meanwhile, the metaphorical season of Shomu (harvest) is also approaching. For the first time, I’m not harvesting school-things. No, that entire crop died out in the heat. Now I’m turning to other investments I’ve made since the Year of Ptah began. The fruit of my spiritual life is ripening on the tree; my relationship with mother and partner is grows tall (the first day of Shomu is our anniversary); and the vineyards of my knitting hang heavy with progress. At the vernal equinox, we celebrate the feast of Zep-Tepi, the renewing of the year. I can’t believe the end is approaching. It feels like only last week that I was beginning classes, but it also feels like millennia since high school. Time has gone wibbly.

I’m still processing from my RPD, working out how to adapt my practice and the learn more about my Fathers in full. I’ll share what I can as time goes by.

 

Offering for IV Peret 11, Year 19: Blackberries for my Fathers, raspberries for the Eyes. Well received. Dua Ptah-Sokar, Dua Wepwawet-Yinepu, Dua Bast, Dua Sekhmet-Hethert! May I be filled by your sweetness.

Sat Ptah-Sokar her Wepwawet-Yinepu! Meryt Bast her Sekhmet-Hethert!

9 Mar

Daughter of Ptah-Sokar, He in the Moment of Creation!
Daughter of Wepwawet-Yinepu, the First to go Forth and lead the Way!
Beloved of Bast, the Mother of Joy!
Beloved of Sekhmet-Hethert, the Mother of Strength!

Dua Netjer!